Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia stated Saturday that he will sell his $2.2 million mansion. This is in response to angry parishioners who thought that the money could go to better uses. Gregory had a closed-door meeting where he discussed selling the new mansion with his advisors. They decided to sell the newly built mansion after criticism from the community on how extravagant it was.
The land for the mansion was donated by the nephew of Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone with the Wind.” The property is going to be sold, and the proceeds will go to the needs of the local Catholic community. The archbishop will then move into another, more humble, property owned by the Archdiocese.
This decision is hot on the heels of Pope Francis’ acceptance of the “Bishop of Bling”, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst’s resignation. Pope Francis has been encouraging Catholics to bridge the inequality between income and society’s suffering. In an interview, Archbishop Gregory admitted that Pope Francis’ influence helped guide his decision. “He also has encouraged bishops to grow closer to their people, to listen to their people. And that, I take as a pretty serious admonition. I’m disappointed in myself … because in my nine years, I do believe that I’ve grown very close to the people of the archdiocese. And I think this decision is an aberration rather than a pattern.”
Following the Pope’s example is a way to better oneself. Archbishop Wilton Gregory is now doing his best to follow the teaching of the Catholic leader and to better the community he is serving.